in someone else’s garden. Isn’t that how we feel if we are honest? The grass is always greener . . . there are many options for completing this phrase, such as “on the other side of the fence” or “somewhere else” or “next door.” But the gist is the same – the grass is always greener in someone else’s garden. This is not a new sentiment. Some say it dates back to the poet Ovid (43 BC – 17/18 AD). But if truth be told, it started long before Ovid’s time. It started in the original garden, the Garden of Eden.
Eve was the first to decide that the grass is always (must be) greener in someone else’s garden. The serpent convinced Eve that God was holding out on her, that there was something more, something better, that was not provided for her and for Adam in the Garden. This had to do with the fact that God told Adam and Eve they could eat fruit from any tree in the garden, save one. There was one tree whose fruit they were forbidden to eat.
So naturally, after conversing with the serpent, Eve decided life wasn’t green enough, she was missing something, she was sure of it. But if she could have this forbidden something, life with the forbidden fruit would be greener. Eve believed the lie, took the bait, ate the fruit, and shared it with Adam, who ate it also. The result? They were kicked out of the garden they inhabited and ended up in a less green garden where they had to work the earth to bring forth food. In Adam and Eve’s case, the grass wasn’t greener in another garden. They had been living in the ultimate garden – the garden to which all gardens would forever be compared.
It seems like we still live by this same motto today – “the grass must be, always is greener in someone else’s garden.” Maybe that’s why we refer to this phenomenon as “the green-eyed monster” that is jealousy or envy – it’s continuously having our eyes on the greenness of another person’s garden or on the perceived greenness of another person’s life. This perpetual pursuit of greener pastures on our part, leads to nothing but heartache, disappointment, conflict and endless strife.
It has been this way from the beginning. Consider what happened with Cain and Abel. It was all about whose garden or pasture was greener, who brought the better offering and found favor with God. In truth, they both could have found favor with God by offering to Him their best. Instead of resenting Abel, Cain simply needed to take care of his own garden. A lesson we still struggle to learn to this day.
In fact, another quote I saw said, “the grass is greener where you water it.” and another, “water your own grass, don’t worry about your neighbor’s grass.” This “grass is always greener somewhere else” phenomenon speaks to our lack of contentment with what we have and our desire to always acquire more. As a result, we never rest, we are never at peace. If I am constantly thinking that someone else has a greener garden or I am constantly searching for greener pastures, then I will never appreciate and enjoy what God has given me.
The search for evergreener can be exhausting. Then I remember these words from Philippians 4:19 and from 2 Corinthians 9:8,
“And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”
“And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things, at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”
God is able to supply all my needs if I will let Him and, unlike Eve in the garden, I will find myself not only satisfied but overwhelmed with the goodness of His many gifts.
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 1:17)
God provided the Israelites food in the desert, the least green place of all. They had manna every morning, new, just like His mercies. And eventually God led them into greener pastures, the promised land of Canaan. God, as the Author of all life, is all about the green – the color of life.
I guess instead of spending my time worrying about the grass being greener in someone else’s garden, I will follow the Good Shepherd wherever He leads and take good care of the garden He gives me to tend. And I will say along with David,
“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul.” (Psalm 23:1-3)
God’s pastures are definitely the greenest – they are eternally green. When God leads me into His pasture and places me in His garden, I can truly say,
“Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” (Psalm 23:6)
sincerely, Grace Day